How many times have you swiped right on Tinder or sifted through messages on OkCupid, only to find that nearly every dude has either a) something sexual to say (e.g. “I’m a pirate. Now gimme that booty”), b) something really weird to say (e.g. “Will you be my Tinderella?”), or c) almost nothing to say at all (e.g. “lol”)? Dating apps and hookup websites can certainly be discouraging if you’re not looking in the right place.
But there’s a great guy for every awful one out there — you just have to dig a little bit (and not give up hope!) on the dating app of your choice. Here are the best tips for finding the dude who actually wants to take you to nice restaurants, cute coffeehouses, and romantic parks…instead of his childhood bedroom in his parents’ house.
1. Take cues from his profile pic.
Men may be visual creatures, but so are women—and there’s a lot lady can learn from a dude’s profile pic. Is he gazing off into the sunset? Could mean that he’s fake, and definitely a cheeseball. Is he laughing with his buddies? At least he likes to have a good time. Does he have his arm wrapped around another girl who happens to be pregnant? TIME TO RUN.
When it comes to profile pictures, go with your gut. Do you find him attractive? Can you see yourself hanging out with him? You’re an individual who is better suited for certain people, so don’t swipe right on every “meh” face you come across.
2. Look for a few common interests.
If he lists Chinese food, South Park, and “government” as his primary interests, and you aren’t into any of that stuff — it’s probably best to pass.
Imagine what’ll happen when he takes you out for General Tso’s to discuss left-wing politics, while you’d much rather be strolling in the park to people watch. Seek out dudes who have the same idea of a best first date as you do — if you enjoy similar stuff, you’ll have much more to talk about, and a greater chance of developing a strong connection.
3. Find someone who’s looking for what you are.
Interested in finding a future hubby on Match.com? Great! But know that not everyone on the site is looking for the same level of commitment as you are. Don’t bother entertaining the guys who seem only to be down for a brief fling.
On the other hand, if you’re not ready for a boyfriend but want something more than a one-night stand, you’re in good company: most dating site users aren’t counting on anything serious, but are open to seeing where things go. Rather than asking, “So what are you looking for?” right out of the gates, bring up the topic casually once you’ve established mutual chemistry. It’s important that your priorities align.
4. Give it a fair shot.
So the first date didn’t go perfectly: there were some awkward pauses; you think he talked about his mom a little too often; he spilled wine on your new blue chiffon dress. First dates can really suck — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the guy sucks, too!
Nerves often get the best of us on first dates and prevent us from being ourselves. Both guys and gals can act like people they’re not in order to impress – even though, ironically, trying to be super humanly fabulous usually just makes someone look like a complete idiot. Even if you feel like ignoring him forevermore, consider giving it one more try. His anxious, silly mistakes could have been the result of being stunned by your beauty, and the second date might be an astronomical improvement from the first. Hell, you never know: you may even laugh about “the wine incident” five years from now at your engagement party!